The Ecology Center's HealthyStuff.org project has tested thousands of products for toxic chemicals...and found that they are far too common. Chemicals like lead, bromine, arsenic, and mercury showed up in products ranging from toys to cars and pet collars to purses. The problem is so pervasive that even careful shoppers can't avoid bringing chemicals into their homes. The current laws regulating chemicals in the U.S. market are insufficient and outdated. It's time to update the law and protect our families.
As your constituent, I urge you to co-sponsor the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010 (HR 5820), introduced in July by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairmen Waxman and Rush.
I am very concerned about the inadequacy of our nation’s chemical policy. The existing law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is widely viewed as a failure. Under TSCA, the EPA has required testing for only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals that are on the market. Due to the lack of health and safety data, toxic chemicals are now found in unanticipated places. Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals have made their way into breast milk, umbilical cord tissue, our waterways, wildlife, and Michigan residents. Mounting evidence from medical and scientific journals links many common chemicals to the chronic diseases that burden millions of Americans, including cancer, infertility, heart disease, and developmental disabilities.
HR 5820 would address the major problems with our current policy. Under HR 5820:
• Chemical manufacturers would be required to provide basic health and safety information for the chemicals they make; this would be publicly available information.
• The EPA would be required to determine the safety of chemicals using the latest methodology from the National Academy of Sciences.
• Expedited action would be taken on the most harmful chemicals—those that persist in the environment, build up in the food chain, and eventually end up in the blood and tissue of average Americans.
• The EPA would be given new authority to identify and help communities that are chemical “hot spots” where the exposure is greatly disproportionate.
Along with the many health professionals, health advocates, workers, environmentalists, and businesses, that support this legislation, I am concerned about rising chronic diseases in this country and see unregulated chemicals contributing to that burden. HR 5820 presents you with a unique opportunity to protect public health, the environment, and my family from toxic chemical exposure. I urge you to demonstrate your commitment to the health and safety of your constituents by co-sponsoring HR 5820.
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